During his speech to the Political Animals Club at the Governor’s Mansion today, Gov. Asa Hutchinson offered the following remarks on Donald Trump (Hutchinson endorsed Marco Rubio):
Donald Trump was a winner yesterday. He had a good day across this country, winning in a variety of venues in states from the northeast down to the south, particularly in states like Alabama, winning with big margins. …
I do not believe he closed the deal yesterday but he moved closer to closing the deal. So where does the Republican primary go from here? I think the challenge for Donald Trump, and the test for him, is that he has convinced those who are angry and those who are frustrated with what’s happening in Washington that he is their candidate because he can express the same frustrations. And he has shown that he can captivate the media, he has demonstrated that he can generate the audiences. But what he has to do now is convince mainstream Republicans — he has to convince America — that he is capable of presidential leadership. I believe that is the test, and he has an opportunity to do that. If he shifts his demeanor, if he shifts his structure, his comments, his discipline so that he can show that he can lead — not just America, but that he can also lead the Republican party — then you will see more of the establishment saying that he will be an acceptable nominee. If he continues down a divisive path, there will be greater concern about the downticket races. Governor’s races and Senate races — what’s that going to to do in impacting those canddidates? Are we going to lose senate seats? Are we going to lose gubernatorial seats in blue states because of who leads the ticket? He’s got to convince those skeptical that he can lead both the party and our nation.
Hutchinson has said that he will support the eventual nominee regardless of who it, so he’s clearly not in the #NeverTrump wing of the Republican party. Trump is the runaway favorite to be the nominee and Hutchinson knows it. You can see in his remarks above a willingness to make peace with a Trump candidacy if Trump moderates his message for the general election.